We have some good news, and we have some bad news.

Let's start with the good. The Skyway Stage 3 could be opened pretty soon. The bad? We'll have to slog through even more traffic first before we get to drive on it. But before you groan about the prospect of sitting in heavy traffic, you might not have to wait too long before it all gets better. In fact, they plan to fully open it by the first quarter of 2020. If it all goes to plan, this is one year-opener we can all greatly appreciate.

According to the Department of Public Works and Highways, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said that the 18.68-kilometer elevated expressway, which will be “substantially completed” within the year, will cut down travel time from Buendia in Makati City to Balintawak in Quezon City from two hours to just 15 to 20 minutes. The agency added that the new road will be full aligned by the first quarter of 2020. Furthermore, Skyway Stage 3 will be substantially completed by Christmas, at that point several ramps will already be opened.

But in order to stay right on target for its Q1 2020 full opening, there will be some major changes to the traffic route to make way for its construction. Because of that, the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and NLEX Corporation will implement a major traffic rerouting plan some time this month.

DPWH: Skyway Stage 3 90-95 percent completed by Christmas image

This month starts the full-blast construction of its Skyway Stage 3 project in certain portions of NLEX Balintawak this month. “We are appealing for the patience and understanding of the public, but we are also assuring them that MMDA, NLEX, and Skyway teams will exert all efforts to minimize travel delays despite the ongoing construction,” said Jojo Garcia, general manager of the MMDA.

Construction will take place on a one-kilometer stretch of NLEX-Balintawak, which will affect traffic Balintawak Cloverleaf, Camachile, and Bagong Barrio which will also include the east and west service roads. Portions of NLEX-Balintawak have been widened in order to lessen the impact of the roadworks. Once completed, Skyway Stage 3 will connect SLEX and NLEX from Buendia, Makati City to Bagong Barrio, Caloocan City crossing the EDSA Balintawak cloverleaf. Progress has been good so far, with sections of the elevated road now paved.

DPWH: Skyway Stage 3 90-95 percent completed by Christmas image

But for now, the MMDA has since advised motorists traveling along Camachile coming from Quirino Highway bound for EDSA to take Camachile Flyover, turn right towards West Service Road, then turn right at EDSA. For PUJs, they should take a U-turn at Biglang Awa, turn right at Cloverleaf to A. Bonifacio (to Blumentritt) or take the southeast loop to return to Novaliches.

On the other hand, those coming from NLEX going to Quezon City may use Smart Connect Interchange heading to Mindanao Avenue. At the Mindanao intersection, turn right going to Quezon City to destination. Private motorists from EDSA Muñoz heading to Port Area are rerouted to Monumento crossing Balintawak Cloverleaf. They must then turn left at De Jesus Street, head straight to C3 then at the C3 intersection, turn right to Port Area. Also, the ramp from EDSA northbound to A. Bonifacio will be closed for the time being.

DPWH: Skyway Stage 3 90-95 percent completed by Christmas image

Meanwhile, trucks will have to take a different route from light vehicles. Again, coming from Quirino Highway going to A. Bonifacio, they must head towards Mindanao Avenue then turn left at NLEX Mindanao entry going to Smart Connect Interchange towards NLEX southbound. The same scheme goes for trucks from Congressional to A. Bonifacio/Port Area.

If that's all confusing at the moment, don't worry too much about it. The MMDA and NLEX Corporation will be assigning marshals along the affected routes to ensure the continuous flow of traffic. At the same time, directional signs will be put up as well.